Automatic Location Identification

What Does Automatic Location Identification Mean?

An automatic location identification (ALI) is an enhanced electronic location system that automatically relays a caller’s address when they call an emergency responder service such as 911, whether they call from a mobile phone or a land line. Telephone companies have subscriber databases that a consumer’s phone number with a primary home address, but more recent technology such as ALI makes it easier for emergency responders such as the fire departments, law enforcement and paramedics to locate the caller’s exact address in a more timely fashion. In fact, responders can locate someone who dials 911 even if they don’t say a word.


Techopedia Explains Automatic Location Identification

Due to legislation and pressure from advocacy groups such as first responders, ALI is required in many regions of the United States. This is because callers seeking emergency assistance may be unable to speak or be unaware of their address. For example, a small child may dial 911 on behalf of an unconscious caregiver who needs immediate medical attention. Other callers may be unable to recall an address during a traumatic event, or may be forced to remain silent if they are hiding from a perpetrator.

Collaborations between public safety officials and telecom providers has made ALI capabilities possible through cross-referencing databases that include every telephone number, consumers’ addresses and block ranges of streets in each jurisdiction that the telephone company serves. This is known as a master street guide, which generates automatic number identification and can therefore pinpoint a caller’s exact location. Anticipating and implementing disaster recovery plans that respond to nuclear accidents or terrorist acts is just another vital reason for the implementation of ALI. This is why organizations such as the U.S. National Emergency Communications Plan and the Department of Homeland Security have been involved..


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.